12 of 14 people found the following review helpful
One of the finest recordings of Holst's masterpiece,
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This review is from: Holst: The Planets (Audio CD)
The Planets is one piece of English music that has been taken up by European conductors with their orchestras, and this Berlin recording, alongside Dutoit's Montreal version, is one of the finest.
Some carp about the details - if there are some imprecisions, at least that blunts the notion all Karajan cared about was seamless surface beauty - but this recording represents a considerable triumph for the great Austrian conductor. His earlier Vienna version (1960/61?) is almost a disaster. How Imogen Holst could have admired it so, I have no idea. It's quite clear that, a year or two on from what was apparently a real mess under the baton of Sir Adrian Boult, the VPO were no nearer understanding what is of course a difficult piece to perform.
Karajan's remake for DG has immense power, superb pacing and depth of utterance. A recent brush with death must have made the ailing conductor more aware of life's fragility and transience. Too bad he didn't have another bash at Das Lied Von Der Erde.
Perhaps not in the elite of digital recordings, but when you consider how lifeless the most recent Berlin/Planets recording was, we should be grateful for this one.